In The Magazine

Meet our Power Elite: Diane Ravitch

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
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Diane Ravitch’s career in education, and her advocacy for every child to receive the same quality education that she did, has landed her on Avenue’s 2017 Power A-List.


“I was delighted to hear that I made your A-List!” Ravitch said. “I’m not the best dressed woman in New York City; I’m a writer, and it’s solitary work. I usually work in jeans and a fun T-shirt. My most favorite says on the front ‘Wellesley Football’ and on the back ‘undefeated since 1875.’ Wellesley, my alma mater, doesn’t have a football team!”


Ravitch attended Houston public schools for her elementary and secondary education, and then went to Wellesley for college. She then earned her Ph.D at Columbia University in the history of American Education. “I have always been fascinated by education. It has the power to change lives” she said.


Ravitch started her career teaching history of education at Teachers College, and then went to Washington D.C. as Assistant Secretary of Education for Research in the first George H.W. Bush administration.


“I was an outspoken supporter of standards, testing and charter schools. I was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. I was active in conservative think thanks.” Ravitch said of her time there.


“Then in about 2007, I had an epiphany. I realized that the things I had been advocating were not working. I wrote a book that came out in 2010 called The Death and Life of The Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. It was a national bestseller. I began speaking out against privatization (charter schools and vouchers) and high-stakes testing all over the country.”


In 2013 Ravitch co-founded the Network for Public Education, which has grown to include over 300,000 members. “We are working to fight to improve public schools and save them from the plans of Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos” Ravitch said.


Ravitch is an avid writer. She blogs daily and has had 31 million page views. She’s also written many books and has won a number of awards. “The award that I am proudest of is the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, for informed scholarship on behalf of the public good.”


With her long and esteemed career in education Ravitch holds the support of her family dear. “I am married to my partner and best friend Mary Butz, and my greatest accomplishments are my two wonderful sons and four grandsons.”


Click here for Avenue’s last power elite profile.

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